New Residential Tenancies Amendments and how will it affect you

New tenancy legislation was passed on 30 July 2019 which will affect landlords and tenants in the following ways:

  • tenants’ liability for careless damage in rental properties will be limited to the lower of insurance excess and four weeks rent.
  • Tenancy Tribunal has full jurisdiction over cases concerning premises that are unlawful for residential purposes, such as garages and sleep-outs, which don’t meet minimum requirements for renting.
  • Tenancy Services has the ability to take enforcement action against landlords who rent properties which don’t meet minimum standards.
  • landlords can give 48 hours notice in writing to test rental properties for contamination and must provide the results to the tenants.

These changes are scheduled to take effect on 27 August 2019.

Insurance

Landlords will need to provide insurance information in any new tenancy agreement, including whether the property is insured and if so, what the excess amount is. The statement in the tenancy agreement must also inform the tenant that a copy of their insurance policy is available on request.

Tenancy Tribunal has full jurisdiction over garages and sleepouts

Regardless of whether premises can be legally lived in, they will be considered residential premises under the Residential Tenancies Act if they are lived in or intended to be lived in.

Testing for contamination

Landlords will be able to test for methamphetamine in rental premises while tenants are living there. They must provide 48 hours’ notice to tenants before entering the property, or for boarding house tenants they must provide 24 hours’ notice before entering the boarding house room.

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